Last Friday, when the Republican presidential poll he ran on his website didn't produce the results he wanted, Bill O'Reilly announced that he had some "bad news to report." About 100,000 people voted in the poll according to O'Reilly, but "the problem is the Ron Paul people and the Herman Cain people told their supporters to flood the polls."
Hmmm, nobody told me.
So after deleting all votes for both Ron Paul and Herman Cain, Blowhard Bill O'Reilly announced that (ta-da!) Mitt Romney won the poll, Newt Gingrich came in second, Rick Perry third, and Michele Bachmann came in fourth.
This was so pathetically ridiculous that all you can do is laugh. Besides, O'Reilly is a clown.
The Amazing, Disturbing, Media Role in Politics
Bill O'Reilly, like all of mainstream media, uses polls to advance a particular opinion. Here's how:
First, he propagates a specific opinion via "reporting" that reflects his personal bias. Next, he conducts a poll of his viewers, who (most likely) agree with him. Then the results of the poll are used to perpetuate the myth that his opinion enjoys majority support, therefore inducing the "bandwagon" psychology of the average voter.
This is not to say that polls never provide a fairly accurate account of public opinion, but simply to say that public opinion is largely influenced by the mainstream media, who in turn, use polls to tap into that powerful human psychological need to belong (more importantly, belong to the "winning team!").
Here's Politico's Roger Simon explaining the media's role in elections.
Though the media can, of course, change that since we get to determine who the top tier is.
There was a deliciously intriguing line in The Washington Post's fine recap of Ames on Sunday. It said had Paul edged out Bachmann, "it would have hurt the credibility and future of the straw poll, a number of Republicans said."
So don't blame the media. Here are Republicans, presumably Republican operatives, who said if one candidate wins, the contest is significant, but if another wins the contest is not credible
Amazing. And disturbing.
Most information the American public receives about presidential candidates has already been "purified" through the media's ideological sieve - the process of focusing on the campaigns of their choosing, and discrediting, distorting, and excluding everyone else.
Here's how the "debates" work.
Hours before last week's presidential debate in Orlando, Ailes's anchors sat in a cavernous back room, hunched over laptops, and plotted how to trap the candidates. Chris Wallace said he would aim squarely at Rick Perry's weakness: "How do you feel about being criticized by some of your rivals as being too soft on illegal immigration? Then I go to Rick Santorum: is Perry too soft?"
"That's going to get some fireworks going," said managing editor Bill Sammon, grinning.
When showtime arrived, producer Marty Ryan choreographed the action from a crowded trailer outside the convention hall: he called for a two-shot when Wallace invited Mitt Romney to criticize Perry's immigration stance, so the audience could watch both men's agitated expressions. But Ryan barked, "Let's just be on Perry," as the Texas governor demanded to know whether Santorum had ever been to the Mexican border, capturing the moment. Afterward, Ailes phoned a top lieutenant: "Tell the team we've been kicking ass in these debates."
Ailes has always been a master showman—he even gave advice on triple-checking the audio—and Fox's partnership with Google produced striking videos, graphics, and a backstage smoothie bar ...
That's politics, reality-style.
Anyone who watched the Republican debate on CNN could not have helped notice how the questions went down the line, from Mitt Romney to John McCain, and then skipped over Ron Paul. This happened on several occasions. Eventually, the other candidate on the stage, Mike Huckabee, got so disgusted that he spoke up in protest, wondering why the "spigot" of questions had been turned off for him, too. "I didn't come here to umpire a ballgame between these two," Huckabee said, referring to Romney and McCain. "I came here to get a chance to swing at a few myself." Huckabee wasn’t whining; he was telling the truth about how the media try to rig the process.
It all goes to show that these "debates" are media productions that have little to do with an actual examination of differences between the candidates. In effect, the media are trying to pick the candidates and narrow down the race. While few people, relatively speaking, actually watch the debates on the cable
channels, the exchanges which are manufactured by the nature of the questions that are addressed to certain candidates get picked up by many other media outlets, leading to a public perception that the “frontrunners” being quoted are the only "serious" ones left in the race.
They are not the current front-runners. But it looks like Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee are in the race to stay because of their grassroots support. By trying to ignore or marginalize these serious and important candidates, the media demonstrate their bias and elitism.
The result of this media malpractice will be growing public awareness that our democratic form of government is increasingly at risk because the people are being denied important information about the candidates and the issues.
So rather than "We the People" deciding who is worthy of nomination, it's the media who actually decides which candidates are OF. MAXIMUM. SERIOUSNESS. or not.
Who's Crazy Again?
Another favorite pastime of Establishment newsreaders and pundits is to discredit any candidate who deviates from the two political party orthodoxies, by mocking them and insisting that they're crazy, fringe lunatics!
For example, candidate Ron Paul was warning of a housing bubble and collapsing dollar at a time when our Democratic and Republican "Leaders" OF. MAXIMUM. SERIOUSNESS. were totally oblivious.
Paul has relentlessly fought against the central planning of our economy and extreme secrecy of the Federal Reserve, while advocating for a sound dollar to boot. Yet in spite of just experiencing one of the worst financial disasters in history, record federal debt, and our economy in perpetual decline ... we're still supposed to believe that "crazy" Ron Paul is the embodiment of certifiable madness and insanity. Huh?
What, exactly, is considered OF. MAXIMUM. SERIOUSNESS? Well, "free money for everyone!" of course. Oh, and don't forget the genius, out-of-the-box brilliance of taxpayer-funded corporate bailouts!
Remember TARP? Mitt Romney said it "was the right thing to do." Just two weeks prior to TARP being shoved down our throats, Herman Cain was laughing about the "imaginary recession." Whoops. Herman Cain then agitated for TARP (in order to bailout his banking friends). Rick Perry loved (the bankster bailout) TARP too!
That's right folks. The Federal Reserve's central planning authority, endless bailouts, and creation of economic bubbles that always collapse (thanks to
counterfeiting printing trillions of dollars out of thin air) is ... Sane.
Stop and think about some of the other policies these self-righteous arbiters of sanity support ... fraudulent accounting, warrantless wiretapping, denial of habeas corpus, presidential assassination, permanent global revolution (perhaps another war against Pakistan?) ... Who's Crazy Again?
Forced to name the "craziest" policy favored by American politicians, I'd say the multibillion-dollar war on drugs, which no one thinks is winnable. Asked about the most "extreme," I'd cite the invasion of Iraq, a war of choice that has cost many billions of dollars and countless innocent lives. The "kookiest" policy is arguably farm subsidies for corn, sugar, and tobacco—products that people ought to consume less, not more.
These are contentious judgments. I hardly expect the news media to denigrate the policies I've named, nor do I expect their Republican and Democratic supporters to be labeled crazy, kooky, or extreme. These disparaging descriptors are never applied to America's policy establishment, even when it is proved ruinously wrong, whereas politicians who don't fit the mainstream Democratic or Republican mode, such as libertarians, are mocked almost reflexively in these terms, if they are covered at all.
If returning to the gold standard is unthinkable, is it not just as extreme that President Obama claims an unchecked power to assassinate, without due process, any American living abroad whom he designates as an enemy combatant? Or that Joe Lieberman wants to strip Americans of their citizenship not when they are convicted of terrorist activities, but upon their being accused and designated as enemy combatants? In domestic politics, policy experts scoff at ethanol subsidies, the home-mortgage-interest tax deduction, and rent control, but the mainstream politicians who advocate those policies are treated as perfectly serious people.
Bipartisan Establishment Orthodoxy
A sect or party is an incognito devised to save man from the vexation of thinking.
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Mainstream newsreaders and pundits, along with Party Loyalists, play the role of mindless amplifiers in the echo chamber of establishment orthodoxy. That's why the two permanent power factions in Washington, despite decades of complete, utter failure, remain as firmly in control as ever. Since the media won't challenge the dominant narrative, nor will the Party Loyalists, no serious challenge comes to fruition. Thus perpetuating the status quo ... until the whole system collapses.
For the two permanent power factions - the Democrats and Republicans - stigmatizing anyone who strays from the dominant narrative (they've carefully crafted), ultimately creates for them an allegiance to their respective party establishments (popular cliques in high school do this too), therefore entrenching their (arbitrary) power further while dividing and weakening the citizenry by pitting neighbor against neighbor (based on meaningless loyalties to supposedly "opposing" Ruling Class factions).
So, in spite of the fact that establishment orthodoxy has proven beyond doubt to be as irrational, wacky, and insane as humanly possible, political positions outside establishment orthodoxy remain unapproved. Instead, mainstream media coverage will continue to lack substance as it promotes trivial, pointless "horse race" issues ... As We Go Marching Towards Socialism and Bipartisan Tyranny.